Sleep disorders affect an astonishing number of people in America (I read upwards of 40 million people). People who suffer from anxiety disorders and or panic attacks commonly site problems with anxiety and sleep, both falling asleep, staying asleep, fear of night panic attacks, and trouble feeling refreshed the next day.
The anxious mind is a racing mind, and it can be very hard, if not impossible, to turn off these thoughts.
The purpose of this article is to give practical tips that will help you with anxiety and sleep, and to help you establish a healthy sleeping routine.
Preparing for Sleep Tips
It’s important to watch what you eat. You don’t want to go to bed full or you will have the additional burden indigestion, reflux or heartburn. You also don’t want to go to bed hungry.
Much has been written about the importance of having a sleep routine. I have been doing this for years. I go to bed and wake up at the same time every day.
Keeping the bedroom fresh and uncluttered helps too. I love clean sheets and the smell of lavender or rose from a light bulb ring or plug in. Smells are comforting and so is taking a nice warm shower or bath right before turning in.
Smells and essential oils that can help to induce sleep include: Jasmine, Lavender, Lemon balm, Citrus, Rose, Sandalwood, Ylang Ylang, and Sweet marjoram. (Pick up a scented Plugin and place it near your bed, or add a few drops of a scented oil to a light bulb ring on your nightstand).
Other tips to help ensure a good night;s rest include reducing caffeine, sugar, tobacco and alcohol several hours before you go to bed. Exercising in the morning instead of in the evening, not watching TV in bed, not having a cell phone in the room, and making sure your room is nice and dark also helps.
Make sure you feel clean and comfortable. Brush your teeth and choose pajamas that are lightweight and not restrictive. Make sure your bed is as comfy as possible. If you have a worn out mattress, pick up a foam mattress pad to give it new life. I have a 2 inch foam mattress pad on my bed and I love it. I picked it up for under $100 at Home goods, and I have also seen them at Target and Wal-Mart.
Reflexology is known to help aid sleep too. I do my own mini version with by lightly tapping or all over my scalp for a minute or so and then rubbing lotion on my aching feet. My feet love a good rub right before bed!
How To Fall Asleep With Anxiety
Banish sleep anxiety. Here is a wonderful little technique to fall asleep that I learned from one of my Claire Weekes books:
First, tend to the pressing business in your mind. (And the anxious mind always has pressing business). You have to come up with a solution that you can live with at least until morning – and it helps to write it down. So for instance, if your anxiety is focused on the logistics of taking one of your children out of school for a doctors appointment and then returning her to school, do what you can the night before.
This may include: Writing permission notes, putting your checkbook and insurance card in your purse, charging your cell phone, laying out clothes for you and your children for a smooth morning, packing book bags, etc. If you take care of these things before you lay down to sleep, you won’t be up all night figuring it out.
Once you lay down, go over your plan and see if you missed anything. Say you forgot about dinner- jot down to take chicken out of the freezer and have your coupons and grocery list in your purse so you can easily start dinner once you get home.
Now, once you have this plan or solution for the next day that you are satisfied with, your racing, wandering, planning mind will shut off. Good job!
Next, make sure your room is cool, not warm, and open a window near your bed. Also make sure you have a weighted blanket on you- nothing too warm, just enough to comfort you.
Once you turn off the lights, you are to concentrate on just listening to the sounds of the night- crickets, wind, dogs barking, cars, etc. At the same time, imagine your body becoming heavy, heavy, heavy. Just keep on listening to those wonderful soothing night sounds as you sink deeper and deeper into your bed, imagining your body becoming heavier and heavier with sleep.
Heavy body, listening outside… Heavy body, listening far away outside…
You will be fast asleep in no time. This is a delicious and easy way to fall asleep, once again a great tip from the wonderful Dr. Claire Weekes. This technique takes care of the sleep anxiety by allowing your mind and body to easily and quickly relax. Thanks Doc!
Lulling Yourself to Sleep By Switching up Your Method Occasionally
After suffering from sleep anxiety for much of my life, I am very grateful to have a sleep routine that works for me. Keeping to my sleep routine is a priority in my life. And if on occasion my usual method above doesn’t work, I can try something else. Here are some other things that help me with anxiety and sleep:
Reading something like a novel before you turn the lights out is a great way to get tired fast. Some experts say to read something boring like a text book. Everyone is different, so you have to find what works best for you. I always keep reading material at my bedside. I make it a point to get to the public library to keep fresh reading material at hand for my bedtime routine.
Sleep and anxiety do not have to go hand in hand. Once you have used some of these tips and find what works for you, soothing restful sleep will become something to look forward to every night.
I wish you peace and zzz’s,
Relearn how to fall asleep fast and enjoy a good night’s sleep with self hypnosis- highly recommended!